There are a number of insects can cause considerable discomfort.

Fly bites on dog ears

In late summer and autumn many dogs kept outside during the day are worried by a biting fly. This fly is larger than the normal household fly, but smaller than a blowfly. It is a persistent pest and can worry humans trying to garden.

The main target in dogs is the tips of the ears in breeds that keep their ears erect, such as German shepherds, cattle dogs and kelpies.

In breeds with floppy ears the top of the head or the very base of the ear is attacked. The flies are bloodsuckers, and leave an area of raised skin heavily encrusted with dried, dark blood.

Treating fly bites on dog ears

Very often the dog attempts to relieve the irritation caused by these bites by rubbing or scratching and producing a wider area of raw, bare skin.

Treatment consists of first bathing the affected area to remove the exudates matting the hair. A soothing antiseptic cream containing an anti-inflammatory can be applied to the area until the skin heals.

Most importantly, an effective fly repellent ointment should be liberally applied to the affected area each morning to protect the dog from future attack. Fly repellents designed for human use do not last long enough and are usually in aerosol form, to which the animal objects.

Ask your veterinarian for a specific veterinary insect repellent.

Symptoms of bee stings on dogs

Bee stings are very common among puppies and kittens. Some older animals cannot resist chasing bees and are also regularly stung.

The common site of the sting is around the face, and the muzzle and tissues around the eyes swell quickly to quite alarming proportions. Very often the swelling goes down quite quickly and docs not seem to cause any great inconvenience.

In some animals, particularly in very small breeds or young puppies, or where there have been multiple stings, a more severe reaction occurs. The dog at first becomes very uncomfortable, may vomit, and begin to breathe rapidly and may develop wheels in the skin all over the body.

In such cases it is wise to contact your veterinary surgeon as a simple injection of an antihistamine will rapidly alleviate these distressing symptoms.

Symptoms of redback spider bite in dogs

A common spider is the redback. It inhabits quiet, dark areas under the house, in garden sheds or under garden or builder’s rubbish heaps. Kittens and puppies investigating these areas may be bitten.

Specific diagnosis of the bite of the redback spider is often difficult, as it is rare for the owner to actually observe the incident. In humans the bite is most usually on the hand and is extremely painful.

Quickly the pain extends to involve the whole limb. Profuse sweating occurs and abdominal pain and a progressive generalized muscle weakness may develop.

In our animals a suddenly developing paralysis associated with vomiting may suggest a redback spider bite. The symptoms are slow to disappear, and in very severe cases, humans are treated with a specific antivenom. There is no reason why the antivene could not be used in animals, provided a clear diagnosis could be established.

It is wise to clean up accumulations of rubbish in the garden and keep the pet from playing under the house or garden sheds.